Schools lacking high-speed Internet bandwidth, infrastructure
Only five school districts across the state are technologically ready to begin online testing of their students as part of the Common Core Curriculum being implemented statewide. Despite Lafayette’s publicly run fiber network available through LUSFiber, the Lafayette Parish School System didn’t make the technological cut.
A press release from DOE details the “Technology Footprint” report, offering a glance at the network, bandwidth and device requirements for implementing online testing by the 2014-2015 school year. Ascension Parish, the city of Bogalusa, St. James Parish, Red River Parish and FirstLine Schools in New Orleans are the only school districts found to have the needed devices. Ascension and St. James are the only two that meet both the device and network readiness guidelines:
The report provides districts with an initial footprint picture of network, bandwidth and device requirements needed to fully implement online assessments in 2014-2015 and full digital readiness afterward. Districts will receive a customized report and be able to see where they stand compared to the footprint picture, learn the extent to which their schools are digital-ready, and learn how to budget for upcoming technology investments.
Data and technology specifications received to date indicate school campuses in Louisiana have 197,898 devices available for online testing but only 67,038 meet new device standards. In order to meet 2014-15 testing guidelines, districts will need to purchase or upgrade computers and other devices already owned by districts that don’t currently meet the minimum hardware specifications.
Districts will continue to submit data throughout the next two years as they implement new or upgrade current technology within their district. The state will then release bi-annual updated footprint snapshots for districts to track their progress in meeting the 2014-15 online testing requirements.
Although these numbers show what schools will need for online testing, they do not address the technology needed for new instructional models and teaching methods in schools. To assist school systems in determining the computers needed to support these models, the Department of Education recommends a minimum student to computer ratio of 7:1 for online testing, 5:1 for a minimum classroom learning environment, and 1:1 for an optimal classroom learning environment.
Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper could not be immediately reached for comment Monday morning.
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